One day, three little girls named Betsy, Tacy, and Tib sat on a bench at the end of a street. The street was named Hill Street and Betsy and Tacy lived on it. Sometimes, strangers thought Tib lived there, too, because she came every day to play with Betsy and Tacy.
They were all seven years old and right now they were staring at the sky. Ever since the calendar turned to October, they had been waiting for snow. Snow meant sledding and cocoa and cozy fires. Julia and Katie, Betsy and Tacy's older sisters, said it was too early for snow, but Betsy and Tacy and Tib had faith. Sometimes there was frost on the grass when they woke up, so surely snow couldn't be far behind.
"There!" Betsy said, and pointed to the sky. "That could be a snow cloud."
Tib looked at the cloud and shook her head. "It's too small. And the sky is blue."
"There's one!" Betsy said, pointing at another cloud, this one floating behind Tacy's rambling white house.
"Oh yes!" Tacy said. "It looks full of snow."
Tib looked puzzled. "But it's even smaller."
Betsy and Tacy looked at each other. Tib was always pointing out things like that, but they liked her just the same.
"I know!" Betsy said, and jumped off the bench. "Let's go north!"
"North?" Tib asked.
"That's where the snow comes from," Betsy said. "Julia told me."
"Oh yes!" Tacy said, and she jumped off the bench, too. "Will we have to go very far, do you think?"
"We might!" Betsy said. "Do you think our mothers will give us food for the journey?"
"Maybe we better not ask," Tacy said. "They might try to stop us."
"I can cook for us," Tib said. Tib knew how to do things like that. She could sew, too. "But we don't have anything to cook with."
"We can cook roots and mushroom," Betsy said. She had read about it in books.
"I've never cooked roots before," Tib said. "It might be fun!
And she jumped up, too.
"When should we leave?" Betsy asked.
"Tomorrow is Saturday," Tacy said. "That's a good day for a journey."
"Let's meet after breakfast," Betsy said. She was beaming, like she always did when she came up with a good plan, and Tacy and Tib's eyes shone with excitement.
The next morning, Betsy and Tacy met at the bench. Both had dressed for their trip. They wore scarves, mittens, and stocking caps. Tacy's face was flushed and Betsy was wiping sweat out of their eyes, but they grinned at each other in happiness.
"It's a good thing we thought to wear our winter clothes," Betsy said. "The north will be awfully cold."
But when Tib arrived, she wasn't wearing any of her warm clothes. She hadn't even brought a jacket.
"You're not dressed for snow!" Betsy and Tacy exclaimed.
"My mother wouldn't let me," Tib said. "She said it was too warm for winter clothes."
"You can borrow my mittens," Tacy said, and handed them to Tib.
Tib put them on. "They make my hands hot," she said, and started to take them off, but Betsy and Tacy stopped her.
"We have to be prepared!" Betsy said.
"It is warm," Tib said, looking up at the sun and the cloudless sky. But she kept the mittens on.
"Are we ready to go?" Tacy asked.
"I think we are," Betsy said. But she didn't get up from the bench and neither did Tacy.
"Betsy?" Tib asked.
"We might have to walk for days," Betsy said, swinging her feet. "I want to make sure I'm rested up."
Tib sat down on the bench, too. "That's a good idea."
After a while, Tib stood up. "Shall we start?
"Oh," Betsy said. "I expect so."
She stood up very slowly and Tacy stood up, too. Tib took hold of Betsy's hand and Tib took hold of hers.
They stood there for a while longer and then Tib said. "Come on," and started walking. They walked up the hill behind the bench. They almost never climbed this hill and Betsy and Tacy took longing glances at the familiar Big Hill. When they reached the top of the hill, they stopped and looked around.
"We should take a good look," Betsy said. "It might be a while before we see home again."
And they looked down Hill Street, where all the other children were playing. It seemed as if every child in their neighborhood was outside today. They could see Julia and Katie over on the Big Hill and Tacy's yard was full of her other brothers and sisters.
"Won't they be jealous when they hear where we've been?" Betsy said.
"Especially Katie and Julia," Tacy said.
Julia and Katie thought they knew everything. But they wouldn't get to see snow before Betsy, Tacy and Tib!
They walked down the other side of the hill. Halfway down, Tib pulled off her mittens. "I'll put them back on when we get to the snow," she said.
"Perhaps we should take off our winter things, too," Tacy said.
"Yes," Betsy said. "We can carry them."
They bundled up their coats and caps and mittens and put them under their arms. They walked a little further and then Tacy asked, "Do you think we're in the north now?"
"We must be!" Betsy said. "We've walked an awfully long way."
"But I don't see any snow," Tib said.
"Oh," Betsy said. "I suppose the north doesn't have any snow yet either."
"We should come back another day," Tacy said. "They should be getting snow pretty soon here."
"Let's!" Betsy said.
And they started walking back. When they got to the top of the hill, they stopped to look down at the street again.
"Just think!" Betsy said. "They have no idea we went to the north."
"But we didn't see snow," Tib said.
"That's all right," Tacy said. "We'll go back tomorrow."
"Yes," Betsy said. "We just went a little early."
And they ran all the way down the hill and joined the children playing in the sun.